‘A spectacular way to turn 90’: Greenfield resident serenaded on milestone birthday

  • A subset of the Fiery Hope chorus arrived Wednesday to serenade Greenfield resident Flo Stahl for her 90th birthday outside her home on Birch Street. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Greenfield resident Flo Stahl reacts to a chorus that arrived outside her Birch Street home to serenade her for her 90th birthday on Wednesday. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • Flo Stahl, center on the porch of her Birch Street home in Greenfield, listens with her daughter, son-in-law and a friend to a subset of the Fiery Hope chorus that arrived to serenade her for her 90th birthday on Wednesday. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

  • A subset of the Fiery Hope chorus arrived Wednesday to serenade Greenfield resident Flo Stahl for her 90th birthday outside her home on Birch Street. Staff Photo/Paul Franz

For the Recorder
Published: 2/26/2021 5:47:22 PM

In celebration of her 90th birthday on Wednesday, Flo Stahl of Greenfield was met with a surprise serenade outside her home on Birch Street.

“I wanted to celebrate my mom’s milestone birthday,” said daughter Ilene Stahl, also of Greenfield, who asked local musician Eveline MacDougall to arrange the festivities. “Especially during this era when it’s so hard to plan events. The idea of an outdoor serenade appealed to me, knowing how my mom loves music, and I’ve known Eveline for years.”

Flo Stahl moved to Greenfield from Avon, Conn. in 2017 after operating a resume business since 1983. In the early 1970s, she was the first woman to serve on Avon’s Selectboard, which she did for many years, in addition to other town boards.

“My mom has been an intrepid world traveler, visiting many major European cities,” Ilene Stahl said. “She traveled to the Soviet Union in the 1970s and has especially loved visiting sites of natural history, flora and fauna. She’s been to Taiwan, Egypt, Israel, Mexico and Australia. She’s held a baby orangutan and stood in a Malaysian bat cave; she enjoyed visiting the monuments on Easter Island, Machu Pichu and Iguazu Falls.”

A longtime animal lover, Flo Stahl joined a month-long safari around the perimeter of Zimbabwe to see large animals. Most recently, she traveled with a group led by geologist Richard Little, professor emeritus at Greenfield Community College, to visit and learn about Iceland.

Flo Stahl has criss-crossed the United States as well, seeing an archeological dig, tribal cave dwellings and cave art in the Southwest.

“There’s a big framed map in my mom’s living room with push pins showing all the places she’s visited,” Ilene Stahl said. “She made friends all over the world and visited them whenever she could.”

Now that traveling is no longer an option, Flo Stahl “loves to read about natural history and botany,” Ilene Stahl said. “She likes watching the Met Opera in HD and is a huge Rachel Maddow fan.”

As MacDougall led some of her fellow singers from Fiery Hope (the chorus formerly known as Amandla) through popular freedom songs like “Down by the Riverside” and “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me ’Round,” Flo Stahl stood on her porch and clapped, laughed and shed a few tears.

“This is a spectacular way to turn 90,” she said. “I love it.”

Neighbors drove, cycled and strolled by, many stopping to enjoy the music and to shower Flo Stahl with greetings and well wishes.

“What a beautiful way to spend a warm, sunny day,” she added, thanking everyone.




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